'"Algorithms are meaningless without good data. The public can exploit
that to demand change," argues a new article in MIT's Technology
Review (shared by long-time Slashdot reader mspohr):
Data is fed into machine-learning algorithms to target you with ads
and recommendations. Google cashes your data in for over $120 billion
a year of ad revenue. Increasingly, we can no longer opt out of this
arrangement... Now researchers at Northwestern University are
suggesting new ways to redress this power imbalance by treating our
collective data as a bargaining chip...
In a new paper being presented at the Association for Computing
Machinery's Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency conference next
week, researchers including PhD students Nicholas Vincent and Hanlin
Li propose three ways the public can exploit this to their advantage:
Data strikes, inspired by the idea of labor strikes, which involve
withholding or deleting your data so a tech firm cannot use it —
leaving a platform or installing privacy tools, for instance.
Data poisoning, which involves contributing meaningless or harmful
data. AdNauseam, for example, is a browser extension that clicks on
every single ad served to you, thus confusing Google's ad-targeting
Conscious data contribution, which involves giving meaningful data to
the competitor of a platform you want to protest, such as by uploading
your Facebook photos to Tumblr instead.
Will we someday see "white-hat data poisoners" trying to convince tech
companies that the best place to advertise is the classified sections
of small local newspapers?
While the researchers believe sporadic individual actions have little
impact, the article takes this to its ultimate conclusion. "What if
millions of people were to coordinate to poison a tech giant's data
well...? That might just give them some leverage to assert their
-- source: https://yro.slashdot.org/story/21/03/06/0149242
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